Category Archives: Workout

GAIN Fitness Review

After leaving Muay Thai and needing something to to get me motivated at the gym, I downloaded a bunch of apps to my phone (some paid, some free), to get workout ideas.  I pretty much have done most exercises at some point in time, but the problem is remembering all variations I can do once I’m out there, and having something keeping me accountable.

If you want to build your own workout at the gym, there are a ton of apps for that, but I basically wanted two things: 

1) an app that would guide me through workouts “do this, now do that” sort of thing, to make sure I’m hitting different muscles, taking the place of a personal trainer; and

2) an app that would work with the little equipment I have available at our building’s gym.

It was hard finding an app that lets you specify what you actually have available to you, which is why GAIN Fitness worked for me (I only have dumbbells and the row/lat pulldown machine, and going to the settings I was able to uncheck all the stuff not available to me, such as barbells, different machines, kettlebells, etc).  If anyone knows of a similar app, please send it my way!

GAIN Fitness is free and there are literally hundreds of options with the free version, but if you want an extended pack with more workouts they cost about $3/each (such as advanced core, advanced traps, and so on).  I bought the advanced abs for more variety, but didn’t invest in the other ones since a lot the sample pictures use equipment I don’t have.  It also doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for 3 bucks (how many more exercises?  10?  50?).

When you’re ready to workout, you can either set up “one off” workouts (concentrating in whatever body part you want), or you can build a 4 week workout plan, which is what I chose.  The screen sample is below (my workout plan of choice is highlighted).  If you choose things like “home” or “on the go” you’ll get workouts needing less equipment, but the home one will have options for using chairs and dining table, for example.

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Here is a sample of what it looks like once you set up the week (I chose 3 workouts a week M-W-F):

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And when you click on the date, you get a list of what’s in store for you:

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Once you click on the workout you actually see an example of how it’s done (which for me works as a good reminder of form).

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And when you start the workout, this is the screen you work with (you can edit the repetitions, as well as edit the lbs – bodyweight can be changed to whatever weight you’re using).

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Once you check the “done” box, a timer starts automatically with the rest period, and then you get to the next set.  It also allows you to do these two things:  skip rest, and/or skip to the next workout (personally, I like skipping the rest, then jumping to another set of something else, doing 3 circuits instead of 3 sets of the same thing back to back, that way my arms can be resting while I’m doing squats, for example).

Once you do the exercise for the first time, your reps and weights will be saved for the next time the same workout shows up on your plan.

What I REALLY like about it, is that if you don’t want to do a particular exercise (either because you don’t have the equipment, something doesn’t feel right, or because you’ve done it recently and you’re bored of it), you can click on the scroll down and choose a variation of it, and still target the same muscles.  For example:

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I get bored super-easily, so for me this is great!

Other great things I love?  If I can’t do a workout today, I can click on “do it tomorrow” and it’ll just transfer to the following day.  There’s also a “Quick Plan B” option, that is just using body weight, takes about 10 minutes, and perfect when you’re traveling, don’t have time (or equipment), but still want to get something done.  We all can fit in 10 minutes, right?  Usually things like pushups and jump squats are included on the Quick Plan B.

And of course, you can play your own music during the workout, and you can have voice prompts for the next exercise, when rest is over, etc (I turn the voice prompts off).

Now for the bads…  I hate that the only option I have is “do it tomorrow” and then after that, I have an option of Quick Plan B or nothing – I cannot push forward another day.  I was sick last week, and wanted to change my M-W-F workouts to W-F-Sa, but I could not postpone the Monday workout for a second time, so I just did the “Quick Plan B” on Tuesday night, as I was still feeling off for a full workout, but could suck it up for 10 minutes (I really didn’t want my streak to end!).

Since I do circuits and skip from first set of one thing to the first set of the other, instead of jumping to the second set, sometimes the program acts glitchy and it shows that the second set is already done once I reach it (I have to click on the drop down that shows all sets and from there I can see it still unchecked and click on the box then, now it’s second nature, but the first time I used it I was super confused).

I also wish there was more variety of exercises.  Sure, there are a bunch of things available, but even with the abs pack, I find that there’s not as much variety (I always end up doing another 10-15 minutes of my own ab-work doing other things, mostly because Muay Thai left my core super strong and I don’t want to lose that, specially since I had been battling a weak core for ages).  Another example is that it has lunges, but it doesn’t have options of walking lunges, or backward lunges and so on.  So it definitely needs more for long-term use (maybe if I had access to a full gym, it would be much more varied though).  So far for the 4 week plan is great, and I’ll likely start another 4 weeks once this is over, but can I see myself still doing this a year down the line?  I’d be too bored (right now I have my settings as “intermediate” but I’m wondering if I change it to “advanced” on the next go-round if there’ll be more options, or if it’s the same stuff as before).

I should also add that if you choose to include a warm up/cool down on your plan, that will come off your total time (so basically 60 minutes including the warm up), I do my own thing, so my 60 minutes is all on weights.  There’s also no cardio setting, so if you want a true circuit that adds the treadmill, jump rope, or what not, it’s not available, but you can certainly pause the workout and do a few of those things in between sets.

Anyway, I’ve done 9 workouts so far (including 2 Quick Plan B’s, one due to vacation, the other from being sick), and I have been able to increase a few weights, which is always rewarding!  (The lack of barbells, etc, makes it tricky to increase weights as my grip sucks.  I’m now using two 35lb dumbbells for my deadlifts, but have a hard time gripping it towards the end of the set.)

I got a bunch of recommendations the last time I posted about this, but I’m always open to hearing more!  I do like the guided workouts, and I have very limited equipment, so just keep that in mind!

Sadly, though I’ve been good in the workout department, I’ve been slacking off on the accounting my calories department, so my weight has been stuck for the last two months.  It doesn’t help that Karl brought me back a box of Almond Roca, and that because of his braces, he can’t eat any of it…

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(And before anyone says my pet peeve of “muscle weighs more than fat” – don’t:  a pound is a pound, a pound of muscle just takes less space, but my measurements have not changed, so that’s really not it.)

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No more Muay Thai?

More Palau pictures to come – I’m not nearly done yet!

So I haven’t been back to Muay Thai since getting back to Palau, and I’m debating whether to return to it, because the whole thing left a weird impression with me. 

We got home super-duper late Tuesday night from Palau, so I texted the instructor on Wednesday morning saying I wouldn’t be able to make it.  He texted me back saying that he is no longer teaching Muay Thai classes there, he only does personal training now.  I asked him why, and his reply was that he didn’t know, he showed up on Sunday and his name was no longer on the class schedule.  I really really like his class, and he is tough with me, which is what I need. 

So I then texted FTX gym (yes, everything is done by text here) and asked why was John no longer teaching the class, and that I really like his classes and can they please let management know of my request? 

Their reply? 

“He doesn’t have any classes here.  Yes but its his decision to leave, personal matters.  We can no longer do anything about that.  Thanks.”

Yikes.  I know they’re lying, because John has no reason to lie to me.  So it looks like they took him from the class and never gave him a reason (which, to be fair, that is a cultural issue here, Filipinos are very non-confrontational).  But the whole lying thing, or firing without giving him a reason?  It’s just odd.

I know the substitute, and he’s perfectly nice, but I do feel a bit of a loyalty to John, as he’s been teaching it since I started back in December, and I have seen improvements with him.  I had an unlimited groupon that expired when I was on my trip, so now I’ll have to be paying regular prices for classes, which I was fine doing before, but now it became another excuse not to go.

So instead, I’ve been going to the gym.  That Wednesday, I skipped the gym completely because I had volleyball that night and I was still feeling miserable from the lack of sleep.   That was the biggest waste of time though, because no one in my team showed up, and only one team member bothered to tell me that he was on vacation, the other two players who actually live a few feet from the volleyball courts and don’t have a 40 minute commute there like I do, just didn’t show up, didn’t tell me, and not only I wasted my time going there and waiting around, but we forfeited the semi-final game (sadly, I can’t play by myself) – which was against a team we beat the last 2 times we played them.  And yes, I’m still pissed about the lack of consideration.  How hard is it to send me an email?  Or to actually show up to the games you committed to go to?

But anyway…  Friday and Monday I was back at my building’s gym doing both Workout A and B from the New Rules of Lifting for Women (it takes me about an hour to do both workouts).  As you can’t see, there hasn’t been any improvement weight-wise, since I wrote this post.

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I followed it up about 500 sit-ups and crunches, and I was even able to tackle this baby for 30 reps of incline sit-ups (last week I maxed out at 20):

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I’m wondering if I can keep it up on my own, with no excuses, 3 times a week.  I downloaded a couple of fitness apps so I won’t be stuck to the book (I like variety), but I’ve had a hard time so far finding one that has exercises limited to what’s available at my little gym (no barbells, bands, bosu balls, etc).  I downloaded GAIN Fitness, and I like that it lets me write what I do and don’t have around, so I might try their program this week. 

Anyone has any recommendations for a good fitness app?  I don’t even mind if it isn’t free, as long as it gives me workouts I can do with our limited little gym.

I haven’t been running in ages, my foot has good and bad days (in other words, it’s the same crap as before), my hip still feels inflamed, but lately I’ve been getting the urge to run again.  I’m walking places and think “I wish I could just take off on a run now” (but I don’t since running with a regular bra will not end well with me).  But I think next week, I’ll give running another try.  I miss it!

Lastly, though my body is still the same thing, my legs are slowly starting to show muscle again (my legs are always the first place to show any definition, despite their chunkiness, while my abs are the last one, even though it’s also the last place I put on weight.  Go figure.):

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So, fitness app tips?  I originally had downloaded Fitness Fast, but I have to build my own workouts, and there is no way to know what the workout is by reading the name – you have to go to a whole other screen to see an example of it, which is not user-friendly when you’re at the gym to keep going back and forth in between screens.

I told myself that as soon as I start slacking off, back to Muay Thai I’ll go.  But if I build my own workout routine, at least it will be a lot more flexible once I get back to work.

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No Muay Thai? No problem!

At least on Wednesday it wasn’t a problem.  We’ll see once work starts… 

I do find that in general, I do a lot more at the gym when I have someone making me do it, than when I’m left to my own devices.  Plus, I like the variety an instructor/personal trainer provides on a workout – no two workouts the same.

But when on Wednesday morning I got a call that Muay Thai was canceled for the day (likely due to the loooong holiday weekend we’re gearing up for), I still put on my workout clothes, and an hour after I was meant to go to Muay Thai, I headed over to our building’s gym.

Remember way back when I was doing the “New Rules of Lifting for Women”?  So today I decided to pick it back up.  I never got far into stage 2 last time, so I did stage 1 again, but started towards the end of the phase, doing 3 sets of 10 for each exercise, and using the same weights I used after being a few weeks in.  I’m not that out of shape nowadays after all, since we do incorporate weights at some Muay Thai classes, and sometimes I do a circuit training with the TRX bands, so I have been doing something, but I’m definitely not where I was when I finished stage 1 last time (I was using heavier weights by then, and today things were definitely challenging, even though all weights were about 5 pounds lighter in each hand as it used to be 6 months ago).  On the bright side, the ab work from Stage 1 seemed ridiculously easy!

Just picking between workout A or B wasn’t enough of a workout (compared to what I have been doing), so I ended up doing both of them.  To finish things off, I added 500 sit-ups and crunches (since we usually finish our Muay Thai with ab work, and that was the one thing I found lacking at the end of routine). 

I left quite proud of myself for not taking a rest day when things got canceled!  (Because let’s face it, the first thing that crossed on my mind when I got that phone call was “YAY!  REST DAY!!!  WOOT!”)

And yep, you bet I’m walking around Jakarta quite sore…

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Muay Thai should DEFINITELY get me in shape!

A new gym opened up near us, and we bought a few groupons to try it out.  Aside from offering circuit training, they offer many different classes, and since I wanted to try things out during the day when Karl is not home, I didn’t have many options aside from zumba or muay thai. 

I figured it’s about time to try something different, since I can’t seem to commit to anything lately.

I tried zumba years ago, and looked like a white-girl dancing and was afraid I might get my Brazilian citizenship revoked if I ever tried that again.  Needless to say, I decided this time to try muay thai.

I was super nervous going to my first class – I never done any type of martial arts and I wasn’t even sure what muay thai really was (aside from the “Thai kickboxing” explanation).  I didn’t even google for fear that I was going to chicken out.  (Hint:  I do not look like the picture below.)

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Much to my surprise, I was the ONLY person who signed up for the class, so I basically had one hour personal training session.  The hardest part of the class?  The warm up.  We’re taking jump rope, burpees, push ups, runs, alternating kicks…  But once the looooong warm up is done, there’s a lot of punching and kicking, that though still tiring, they are a lot more fun (turns out I have a pretty strong round kick, but my jump kick?  Couldn’t be more girly if I tried).

So far I’ve only gone to three classes (all of them I was by myself), but each one left me sore for days.  Tomorrow we’re traveling, but I’m hoping next week I can finally make it to three more classes!  The instructor kicks my ass each time, and now I’m really hoping no one else will show up to them…  I’m getting used to the personal training session and having all the attention.

Have you tried a muay thai class or another martial arts class?  Considering my lack of commitment lately to anything else (like bikram, and even running), I’m really hoping muay thai would keep me coming back!

Karl and I also tried their “Rip60” class, which is basically a TRX Suspension Training class – kicked our butts, and we’re definitely going back for more!

So far there has been no change in the scale, but hoping if I keep at it, I’ll finally start getting back into shape.

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Filed under Muay Thai, Workout